Crooked Media - Tragic Mike's last dance

Thursday, March 21, 2024

-GOP Rep. Claudia Tenney (R-NY) making an iron-clad case for impeaching President Joe Biden.

Congress, at last, has a spending deal. A closer look at how they got there shows just how laughably powerless Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) really is.

  • Now that congressional leaders and the White House have arrived at a plan to keep the government open for at least a little while longer, Congress will spend the next couple days frantically trying to pass it before Friday night’s hard deadline. The deal is bipartisan, which by definition, means that hardline MAGA factions are shrieking that the whole thing is a disaster. You can read all the deets of the $1.2 trillion six-bills-rolled-into-one behemoth here. But the real story of this extremely imperfect arrangement is that it represents the bare minimum of governing in a divided Washington—and another total failure by Johnson to deliver on the kind of right-wing promises that the GOP loves to make on cable news, and then run from when the consequences of following through on those wild-eyed promises finally begin to set in. And that is precisely why MAGA is beside itself in anger. 

  • A bit of background to the unusual spring timing here: Spending negotiations normally take place in September. The very weird and dysfunctional process that led to a near-shutdown in (checks watch) March traces back to the spring of 2023, when Kevin McCarthy and the GOP took the U.S. economy hostage, refusing to vote to raise the debt ceiling unless Democrats agreed to draconian cuts in federal programs. Now it’s an election year, and non-feral Republicans don’t want their party to get blamed for a shutdown. So Johnson has the room to do a deal with the Democrats who control the rest of the government so the bare minimum of governance can get done. And THAT, right there, is what’s led MAGA Republicans to denounce the deal as “an abomination,” a “total failure” and “a vote against America” that…wait for it…supports rape and murder. GOP Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) wailed to Steve Bannon’s podcast that because the bill doesn’t take a hard-enough line against parole and detaining migrants: “Any Republican who votes for this bill owns the murders, the rapes and the assaults by the people that are being released into our country. There is no defense of it, period.” Dang, Chip. 


  • What’s important here is that the only thing motivating Johnson to stand up to Trump’s satraps and toadies is the immediate threat of getting blamed for a shutdown. How do we know? Because Johnson had a chance to secure the most conservative border bill in three decades, and he killed it so MAGA could run on border chaos; because Ukraine is still twisting in the wind without critical and very popular U.S. aide as MAGA Republicans threaten to oust Johnson if it passes; and because Johnson refuses to shut down the flailing impeachment inquiry against Joe Biden no matter how many clown-show news cycles it produces. 


Johnson is afraid voters would punish the GOP for a shutdown. Trump and MAGA won’t stop controlling him until voters punish Republicans for beating up on Ukraine, on migrants, and on the truth too.

The boys are back for season 2! Pod Save The World host Tommy Vietor and Roger Bennett of Men In Blazers are teaming up again for another season of World Corrupt. This time they’re unpacking how Saudi Arabia—yet another oil-rich nation with a troubled human rights record—has secured the role of World Cup host in 2034. Check out the first episode now, in the Pod Save the World feed, and tune in every Saturday for new episodes.

Speaker Mike Johnson said he’s planning to invite Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address Congress. This comes, of course, just days after Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) called on Israel to hold new elections, and, presumably oust Netanyahu from power, while branding Netanyahu an obstacle for peace in the Middle East. 


Whatever the impact on international affairs, Schumer’s unusual comments were largely for domestic political consumption. It’s no secret that progressives are irate with the Democratic leadership’s approach to the war in Gaza, and that Biden is facing very real electoral challenges resulting from his support for Israel. Johnson’s invitation looks like an attempt to exploit these divisions. 

Schumer rejected Netanyahu’s request to speak to Senate Democrats on Wednesday. It’s unclear whether Johnson would invite the Israeli PM to speak just to the House, or to address a joint session of Congress, which would require Schumer’s cooperation. Whatever the ceremonial distinctions, Johnson knows what he’s going to get from a Netanyahu appearance. In 2015, Netanyahu teamed up with then-GOP Speaker John Boehner to use a Joint Session speech to embarrass President Barack Obama and undermine one of his top foreign policy priorities, which at the time was the Iran nuclear deal. Now, the Israeli PM has made no secret of his preference for Republicans, and Donald Trump, long before his relationship with Joe Biden soured over Gaza. 

House Republicans made it official: They will cut Social Security if voters give them control of Washington. They literally put that proposal in writing in their new budget. Just try and walk it back now, fellahs!

Three-term Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) says he won’t run for reelection in the Dem primary, but is open to running as an independent if his 18 obstruction and bribery counts are resolved by this summer. BTW, the serial numbers stamped on gold bars found in Menendez’s house make that a very big “if”!


We learned today that New York AG Letitia James filed notice earlier in March that she could move to seize Donald Trump’s properties in Westchester County, N.Y., if he doesn’t post a $454 million bond to cover fraud judgments against him, his adult sons, and the Trump Org. That deadline is Monday. 


Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said he wouldn’t rule out a possible third-party presidential run with the group No Labels. “I wouldn’t preclude anything,” he said. 


Apple got sued by the Biden administration over alleged iPhone “monopoly power.” Big news for all the green text bubbles in the group chat: Y’all may finally get emojis. 


Women are getting off birth control amid a blizzard of online medical misinformation targeting women in their teens and 20s, the Washington Post reports.  


North Carolina GOP public school superintendent candidate Michele Morrow does NOT want to talk about her voluminous social media posts boosting QAnon, calling for Democrats to be killed, and cheering the execution of Barack Obama!  


The New York Times reports that “Republicans are counting on millionaires to flip the Senate.” Uh… well, of course they are! Who did they think the party’s for, anyway?


Reddit shares popped 48% on the company’s stock market debut in the first IPO of a big social media company in five years. 


This weekend is the anniversary of the Affordable Care Act, and surprise! Fourteen years in, Donald Trump’s favorite distraction for the fact that he himself has no health care plan is more popular than ever.

A Milwaukee election official who says she was trying to combat election conspiracy theories was convicted of misconduct and fraud.

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Biden canceled another $6 billion in student debt for those working in public service. 


. . . . . .

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